A Republican legislator from Greenfield is raising questions about the woman from Atlantic who wants to be Iowa’s next Secretary of Agriculture.
Representative Clel Baudler, a Republican from Greenfield, says in 1987, Denise O’Brien’s husband was fined for not feeding cattle he owned. “I understand it was approximately 20…head of cattle on a dry lot and the complaint says they had nothing to eat. They only had water to drink,” Baudler says. “That’s a slow death.”
Baudler says he’s concerned that someone whose farming operation has been investigated by the Department of Agriculture will wind up heading the agency. “Nineteen years ago, if there was a drunk driver, if there was a meth-maker — I wouldn’t like that person in charge of the Department of Public Safety. Same scenario,” Baudler says.
In a prepared statement, O’Brien says a hired hand was supposed to be caring for the cattle, and once her husband, Larry Harris, found out about the maltreatment he fired the man and started caring for the cattle himself.
O’Brien says Republicans are launching this attack to “cover up” something her Republican opponent, Bill Northey, has done. O’Brien says Northey sits on a board which purchased nearly 20,000 acres of farmland in Brazil, a country which hopes to ship its ethanol into the U.S. market to compete with Iowa-made ethanol.